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Even Conservative Ideologues Slamming GOP Candidates

You know things are bad for Republican presidential candidates when John Podhoretz, one of the crown princes of American conservatism, is hammering the candidates for being little more than a bad joke, as he does in the New York Post.

Memo to the Republican field: You’re running for president. Of the United States. Of America. Start acting like it.

Stop proposing nonsense tax plans that won’t work. Stop making ridiculous attention-getting ads that might be minimally acceptable if you were running for county supervisor in Oklahoma. Stop saying you’re going to build a US-Mexico border fence you know perfectly well you’re not going to build.

Give the GOP electorate and the American people some credit. This country is in terrible shape. They know it. You know it. They want solutions. You’re providing comedy.

As I keep telling people, given the economic situation Barack Obama should be unelectable at this point. In any other election year, he would be such a lost cause that the Democrats would be strongly considering finding another candidate. But he’s not, and this is why. The Republican field is appallingly bad. The leader, Romney, is a competent manager who, left to his own devices, probably wouldn’t be a disaster as president. But the forces pushing the field of candidates to the lunatic fringe in the campaign are doing the same thing to the Republican-controlled House and would likely exert the same distorted influence on a Romney administration.

The problem ultimately lies not with the candidates but to the increasingly unhinged voters they are trying to appeal to. The conservative base has simply lost all contact with reality.

One of the other sane conservatives, David Frum, seems to recognize this as well:

The identification of the GOP as mouthpiece for the selfish interests of the wealthy is a stubborn image, difficult to overcome at the best of times. For three years, however, Republican leaders have been doing their utmost to confirm the stereotype – and to quash and quell any attempt to counter that stereotype. Did we really spend months and months arguing that one of the things most wrong with the US tax code is that the poor and unemployed pay too little tax? Yes we did. Head shake. Face slap.

Yes, you did. Your base has also spent the last three years obsessing over Obama’s birth certificate, pretending he’s a secret Muslim and pretending that health care reform is the second coming of Adolf Hitler. The far right fringe is now in control. The paranoid, crazy, John Birch Society/Glenn Beck wing of the party has taken over.

Comments

  1. says

    I sat out the 2004 presidential election (not that my one vote made any difference, particularly in Georgia) because as much of a train wreck as Dubya was I realized that things would have to get worse before people could possibly start to wise up. With Bush’s ratings at about 21 percent in his waning months I realized he had the same amount of support as the number of Americans who think that a dwarf star revolves around the Earth, and thought that perhaps we had reached that point of recognition.
    Apparently it’s going to take a full-blown second Great Depression. Which could have a possible benefit if the Masters of the Universe followed the earlier example and started jumping out of tall buildings en masse. And provided we’re capable of producing another FDR at this point.
    As to the post, “sane conservatives” are another of those endangered species that the Teabagger volk feel it’s necessary to eliminate.

  2. Who Knows? says

    Did we really spend months and months arguing that one of the things most wrong with the US tax code is that the poor and unemployed pay too little tax?

    Yes, and so much so a bunch of dumbfucks have taken it up as a cause.

  3. says

    Is Poddy actually leaving the GOP and joining the Democrats? If not, then his criticism is empty. He’s just like Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and al-Qaeda Pat: just another part of the problem clumping about in elder-statesman shoes and trying to pretend he’s part of the solution.

  4. says

    Commenting on the link from WhoKnows?:

    The 53%: reading through their commentary, they seem to fall into two groups:

    * Men older than 40 who endured hardship for a long time before coming into some success later.
    * Men younger than 40 who are not excelling, but merely hanging on.

    If these are representative of the 53% in the US, I’d rather be in the 53% in Sweden.

  5. slc1 says

    What the Podhoretzs’, pere and fils. are really in favor of is bombing Iran. If one of the current Rethuglican candidates were to promise to do that on his/her first day in office, they would be front and center in support.

  6. eric says

    Romney, is a competent manager who, left to his own devices, probably wouldn’t be a disaster as president. But the forces pushing the field of candidates to the lunatic fringe in the campaign are doing the same thing to the Republican-controlled House and would likely exert the same distorted influence on a Romney administration.

    I completely agree. The guy’s a windsock. If the legislative Overton Window were not so far away from actual public opinion, that would be a positive, but right now, it’s a negative.

  7. says

    In any other election year, he would be such a lost cause that the Democrats would be strongly considering finding another candidate. But he’s not, and this is why. The Republican field is appallingly bad.

    I think it’s more complicated than this. The field is bad, but even if it weren’t, they still would not have a slam-dunk case for winning next year. Survey’s show that people blame Bush more than Obama for the current economic conditions (and rightly so), and the Republican party has abysmal approval ratings thanks to their habit of, well, being pure evil. Obama’s approval ratings are currently net negative, but only slightly so. And he polls better than everything else in Washington.

    In other words, chalking it all up to a weak field is ignoring many other important factors. It’s not even clear that the strength of the opposing candidates makes a big difference. Contrary to popular belief, a reelection is almost entirely a referendum on the incumbent.

  8. jameshanley says

    Survey’s show that… the Republican party has abysmal approval ratings thanks to their habit of, well, being pure evil.

    Is that really how the survey question is worded?

  9. Didaktylos says

    A propos of nothing at all: what are Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice up to at the moment?

  10. felix says

    “The problem ultimately lies not with the candidates but to the increasingly unhinged voters they are trying to appeal to.”

    Yeah, but isn’t that down to the media?

  11. says

    Contrary to popular belief, a reelection is almost entirely a referendum on the incumbent.

    And the first thing to look for is whether or not the incumbent gets a challenge, even a half-serious one, within his own party. At this point, it’s fairly safe to assume Obama will not.
    Johnson in 1968, Ford in 1976, Carter in 1980, Bush in 1992: all had to fight for renomination by their party (Johnson opted not to, dropping out of the race). None were re-elected.
    Johnson in 1964, Nixon in 1972, Reagan in 1984, Clinton in 1996 and Bush in 2004: all got to coast to re-nomination while the other party’s candidates were busy sliming each other, and all were re-elected.
    Gives me some hope, anyway.

  12. laurentweppe says

    I think it’s more complicated than this. The field is bad, but even if it weren’t, they still would not have a slam-dunk case for winning next year. Survey’s show that people blame Bush more than Obama for the current economic conditions (and rightly so), and the Republican party has abysmal approval ratings thanks to their habit of, well, being pure evil. Obama’s approval ratings are currently net negative, but only slightly so. And he polls better than everything else in Washington.

    Yeah: the irony is that both things (Obama low approval ratings and the fact that he still have a good chance to beat any GOP candidate) have the same cause: without the Republicans attempts to sabotage their own country in order to win it back, the economy would most probably not be so bad which in turn would have made Obama more popular: so the truth is that “In any other election year“, Obama ratings would have been much higher, and instead of asking “why have we given so much power to the wingnuts”, conservative Ideologues would be saying “maybe if we had been more ideologically pure we would have won that one”

  13. naturalcynic says

    A propos of nothing at all: what are Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice up to at the moment?

    Powell is getting a little long in the tooth [74] and was demonstrably suckered by neocons. Rice was one of those neocons and is shilling her lies memoirs on The Daily Show last night.

  14. D. C. Sessions says

    Something not mentioned regarding Obama’s lukewarm-at-best approval ratings is how many are unhappy with him from the Right and how many from the Left. There are at least a few who are unhappy with Obama, not because they’re to his right but because they’re to his left (which isn’t saying much — most people in the country are to his left on the issues. Even if they don’t know it.)

  15. Aquaria says

    You know things are bad for Republican presidential candidates when John Podhoretz, one of the crown princes of American conservatism

    I think you mis-spelled a word there. It should be cLown prince. Not crown prince.

  16. eric says

    Frum’s quote seem to imply that its past activities that have saboataged his party. I beg to differ.

    Just this week, the Republicans in Congress decided to spend time and political capital to bring their ceremonial vote of re-approval for the national motto to the floor. They even broke their own procedural rules to make sure it got done. Instead of, you know, dealing with the budget or jobs.

    And let’s not forget the anti-EPA dust regulation bill. The GOP is trying to pass legislation to prevent the EPA from doing something it’s said it has no intention of doing. Evidently preventing hypothetically possible regulation on farms takes precedence over the economy and jobs.

    The own goals just keep on coming. And they don’t seem to be unintentional. Seems the GOP team has decided that if they can’t get the ball in the other guy’s goal, they’re at least going to score some sort of goal, dammit.

  17. Aquaria says

    The identification of the GOP as mouthpiece for the selfish interests of the wealthy is a stubborn image, difficult to overcome at the best of times. For three years, however, Republican leaders have been doing their utmost to confirm the stereotype – and to quash and quell any attempt to counter that stereotype.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA This Frum guy is some comedian!

    You can’t overcome it, because being the mouthpiece for the selfish interests of the wealthy is the entire raison d’etre for the GOP.

    Sheesh. Get with the program, you clueless gobshite.

  18. D. C. Sessions says

    Get with the program, you clueless gobshite.

    A little (perhaps very little) sympathy for Frum. He seems to be in the throes of cognitive dissonance: he’s a guy with decent inclinations and a working narishkeit detector. Generally good things, those — but in Frum’s case, he’s trapped in an abusive relationship with a political party that he can’t yet bring himself to leave.

  19. says

    Unfortunately for Frum the most likely thing to happen to him if he keeps this up is Republicans suddenly remembering he’s a Canadian, and hence not to be trusted as one of those ebil furriners.

  20. dingojack says

    Areaman, laurentweppe – Note Frum saying: “The identification of the GOP as mouthpiece for the selfish interests of the wealthy is a stubborn image, difficult to overcome at the best of times. For three years, however, Republican leaders have been doing their utmost to confirm the stereotype – and to quash and quell any attempt to counter that stereotype.”
    The GFC and the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement seem rather inopportune for the GOP as well. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of looneys!
    Dingo

  21. KG says

    I’m hesitantly optimistic that the tide of rabid right lunacy in the USA is beginning to ebb. The complete failure of the rabid right to produce a credible Presidential candidate, polls showing widespread dislike of the teabaggers, and the appearance and imitation of OWS, all suggest that. Obama probably has no political alternative but to move left to campaign: given the dire economic situation, he’s got to fix the blame on someone else. This shouldn’t be too hard, as all he needs to do is tell the truth: that Republicans in Congress, egged on by rabid right funders such as the Kochs, have been deliberately sabotaging the economy for political gain, while a “bankers’ strike” has also undermined recovery. On the Republican side, Romney will almost certainly be the candidate, but some part of the rabid right will then probably run its own candidate, giving Obama an easy win. With luck, this will hamper Republicans running for Congress too. Of course, even with a Democrat-dominated Congress, a re-elected Obama would likely continue to act as what he is – a moderate conservative.

    However, there are events that could give the Republicans victory in spite of themselves – and some are not in Obama’s power to prevent: for example, a collapse of the Euro, which would trigger a financial crash dwarfing that of 2008; or an Israeli missile attack on Iran, which he would find it enormously difficult to stay out of. Today’s Guardian has an alarming article on that, and on UK preparations to take part in a US-led attack – the supposed grounds being Iran’s “greater aggressiveness”, and the possibility that it could relocate its key nuclear reprocessing facilities deep enough underground to foil all but nuclear weapons. Even an Israeli attack without US participation or support would cause an immediate jump in oil prices, and attacks on US interests in Iraq – and does Obama have the spine to tell Netanyahu that if he attacks, he’ll lose US readiness to veto anti-Israeli resolutions in the Security Council? Even if he did, would Netanyahu beleive him? I wouldn’t.

  22. joewinpisinger1 says

    Ed,

    There are lunatic fringe parts of both the Tea Party and Occupy movements. To point out one and deny the other is intellectually dishonest. Since, even though I do not always agree with you, I know you are intellectually honest I would hope you start to point out the other side and that mob rule from the left or right is not going to change anything. Jack Goldstone in Rebellion and Revolution promotes the idea that true Revolution is when the wrongs are actually righted. Here is a bit of my take on this topic:

    http://www.3rdwavelands.com/p/revolution-or-rebellion.html

  23. Doug Little says

    There are lunatic fringe parts of both the Tea Party

    No your wrong there. You can’t call it a fringe when it constitutes the majority of the group. I’ll agree that there is probably a sane fringe of the Tea Party but that they are very few and far between.

  24. joewinpisinger1 says

    No your wrong there. You can’t call it a fringe when it constitutes the majority of the group. I’ll agree that there is probably a sane fringe of the Tea Party but that they are very few and far between.

    I believe that the majority of both groups are sane. One group is young and liberal and the other is older and conservative. Both have legitimate concerns they share with the other group. The question is how to go about solving them. Post I linked in my last comment hits on this theme.

  25. Doug Little says

    Oh come on Joe, just look at the people that are the associated with the tea party and or are being elected by tea party members, you don’t need anymore damning evidence than that. The people they have been chosen to represent them are bat shit insane, and are natural born citizens of Planet Wingnuttia.

    Please tell me about some of those legitimate concerns that the Tea Party faithful have, I require that they be based on reality though, concerns that require one to get the tinfoil hat out are not legitimate.

  26. says

    “Oh come on Joe, just look at the people that are the associated with the tea party and or are being elected by tea party members, you don’t need anymore damning evidence than that.”

    What is wrong with more personal freedom, less taxes, and anger over bailouts and the mounting debt associated with it? Mind you I think both parties suck in that the Washington Establishment runs them both.

    How do you close the block quote?

  27. Doug Little says

    What is wrong with more personal freedom, less taxes, and anger over bailouts and the mounting debt associated with it?

    Give me a break, more personal freedom from the tea party, that’s a laugh since they seem to be pretty much in bed with the extreme social conservatives of the religious right, even more so than the current republican congress critters.

    Is it better to pay less taxes? I’m solidly in the middle class and can’t complain about the taxes that I pay, they are pretty low, as a matter of fact I would be willing to pay more if I had to. What is the alternative? pay no taxes, what would society look like then?

    The very fact that we had to bailout wall street in the first place was partly due to under regulation of our financial system, I’m sure that the Tea Party is all for more government regulation, oh wait…

  28. Michael Heath says

    D.C. Sessions:

    . . . in Frum’s case, he’s trapped in an abusive relationship with a political party that he can’t yet bring himself to leave.

    Two thoughts:

    We should laud those who belong to entrenched institutions willing to either quit or else actively, energetically, and publically, work to reform that institution. Mr. Frum deserves kudos for his efforts to reform the Republican party.

    Mr. Frum has been demonstrating a rapid transformation in his own positions, I think to more superior positions. That’s a good thing. However this has Mr. Frum romanticizing and cherry-picking past conservatives and their positions. [Where I distinguish the Republican party from conservatism.]

    Frum avoids confronting that the very attributes we now observe from American political conservatives in power in spite of these recently developed attributes being a likely result based on the mind-set of the very people attracted to the movement. This mindset is clearly defective relative to enlightenment ideals and the requirements of capable governance and is an observation Mr. Frum either avoids or denies. The conservatives of Franco’s Spain would be Exhibit A that our merging of religion and plutocratic-friendly conservatives is not unprecedented.

    Therefore Mr. Frum rightfully complains about the symptoms which has caused Republicans to become completely incapable of good governance, while avoiding the very root causes within conservatism that result in the symptoms he addresses within the Republican party. On this matter Mr. Frum deserves our contempt; especially since his criticism doesn’t even address the very items which need to be confronted if the Republican party were to become even remedial at good governance.

    Personally I don’t think conservatism is capable of good governance. I find them less capable even then the Soviets. The only reason this isn’t self-evident to all of us is that our conservatives have been historically checked by not dominating a party until recently and once they did, have been checked by moderates and liberals in the Democrat party.

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